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Tommi’s pick of the dishes this summer

As our new menu flies out of Wahaca kitchens across the country, sparking a summer of Maximum Mexican flavour, we caught up with its creator (and the superwoman you have to thank for all of our dishes) Thomasina Miers, to see which of all of the platefuls are really rocking her boat this summer.

Here’s Tommi’s top 5:

Devon crab and shrimp taquitos.  Summery, crisp and bursting with flavours from the sea this classic tomato-based seafood taquito is a delight.

Grilled chicken tacos.  The Baja-Californian taco with ancho-marinated grilled chicken, habanero mayo and a crisp, fresh slaw.  I love mine with a side of guac.

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Cornbread. This is so good that it should come with a public health warning.  Sweet, toasted cornbread with a smoky-sweet butter and the tangy whipped goat’s cheese.  Keep to yourself or share if you dare…

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Fideus.  Angel-hair noodles cooked in a smoky-sweet tomato broth served with capers and chipotle adobo and either sliced avocado or a touch of Devon crab.  This is a classic from the Mexican state of Veracruz.

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Grilled corn.  We serve it Oaxacan style with crema, fresh lime and a sprinkle of that famous chilli-sugar-salt.

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If that’s got your taste buds tingling, take a look at our full menu here. AND! grab a street dish on us for a limited time only right here!

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Wahaca wins for insect eating innovation at the 2015 SRA Awards

We’re over the moon to pick up The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Innovation award for championing the sustainability of Enotomophagy, or insect eating, at today’s SRA  Awards.

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It’s great news for us and the planet as more of us join the 80% of the world’s population who already consider eating insects as a normal part of their diet and help to reduce the pressure on more traditional meat supplies.

Chapulines SRA Award Sustainability
Tommi and our Chapulines Fundido at Wahaca Southbank

 

If you’re thinking the idea of eating a grasshopper sounds a bit gross, honestly we can’t blame you, generally insects aren’t something that are a normal part of our diets in The UK. But take a moment to ponder why we think of them so differently to prawns, shrimps or lobster which are all arthropods and seriously tasty.

 

If you haven’t tried them already, we’re currently serving a few dishes using the hugely popular Mexican ingredient, chapulines, or grasshoppers, so come down and tuck into our Chapulines Fundido from our Street food specials menu, or our Chorizo and Chapulines Memela exclusively available on our Covent Garden Oaxacan Regional Specials Menu.
Chapulines are particularly popular in the Oaxaca region, from where we took our name, and earlier this month, Tommi and Oaxacan super-chef, Alejandro Ruiz got busy in the kitchen cooking up a chorizo and chapulines memela for the more adventurous of you to try recreating at home. Here’s how…

Please do continue to vote on twitter to let us know what you think of the chapulines, with either #ChapulinYES or #ChapuliNO depending on which way you swing.

The good news is, it’s a big #ChapulinYES from the SRA.

The day Wahaca came to Eden…

This weekend, we sent Edson Diaz-Fuentes from our menu innovation team, down to Cornwall to visit the inspirational and fascinating Eden Project. The purpose of the visit was to take part in the Harvest food festival Chilli Weekend and give a cooking demonstration to share a little bit of what we do at Wahaca.

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There were lots of fresh chillis, tomatoes and other wonderful ingredients from the Eden Project gardens for us to use so we were spoilt for choice of what to make. One of the ingredients Edson was most excited about was courgette flowers, or “flor de calabaza” as to the locals.

This is a favourite ingredient in Mexico for quesadillas, so it was definitely something not to be missed. After sautéing the courgette flowers with chopped onion and garlic in olive oil, they were folded into a corn tortilla accompanied with crumbled Queso Chihuahua from Gringa Dairy, one of our favourite local cheesemakers.

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No quesadilla is complete without freshly made salsas, so Edson whipped up two with tomatoes and chillis from the Eden project gardens. The fresh tomatoes, in season provided an incredible flavour.

The first salsa we prepared was a “salsa de molcajete” made with a mortar and pestel. Garlic, chillis, onions and tomatoes were roasted in a dry pan until the skins were blistered and slightly charred and the a mortar and pestle was put to use, smashing the ingredients, to create a chunky salsa that can be served not only with quesadillas but also as a sauce on other dishes like enchiladas.

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Next-up Edson also set about making a light, fresh salsa with the amazing heirloom tomatoes from Eden, a wonderful range of purples, yellows and reds  bursting with flavour. This is a quick and easy salsa to make, where flavoursome, ripe tomatoes are a must. He added finely chopped onion, coriander, jalapenos, olive oil, lime juice and cornish sea salt to the tomatoes making a perfect accompaniment to quesadillas or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Helping the guys out were volunteers from the audience, which on the Sunday included some very lucky local school children. The two boys who helped out were extremely keen to get to work in the kitchen, and were even enthusiastic about the quantity of chillis they wanted to add to the salsas we prepared! Wahaca fans of the future for sure.

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To accompany the quesadillas Edson prepared a seasonal margarita (well it was the weekend), made with mandarin and lime juice, Cointreau and 100% agave Olmeca Altos tequila, our house tequila at Wahaca. Remember, using 100% agave tequila will ensure quality and purity, as well as how smooth and easy your drinks are. A refreshing, light drink which is a great accompaniment to many Mexican dishes.

Thanks to the Eden Project for inviting us along to this marvelous Chilli Weekend. Here’s to next year.

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The perfect Day of the Dead feast to cook at home

Over the past month we’ve been collecting recipes from budding bloggers to show how our amazing sauces can be used to cook up a delicious Day of the Dead feast at home. After collecting up some amazing entries, Tommi chose Kerry Wheeler’s recipe below as our winner. So if you can’t make it over to Wahaca for tonight’s party, you can still grab a (very tasty) slice of the action by following her recipes below.

Kerry getting all day of the dead inspired
Kerry getting all day of the dead inspired

Wheeler’s quick and dirty Wahaca inspired recipes – for those who like tasty food but are too impatient to wait around for it…

So on the menu we had:

• Homemade Nachos and Guacamole

• Sweetcorn and Chorizo Fritters

• Crispy Fish Fajitas

The challenge being to incorporate the Wahaca sauces into the recipes and see how I got on! So let the challenge begin…

Homemade Nachos and Guacamole – simples.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Nachos:

  • 8 plain tortilla wraps
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika

 

Ingredients for the Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Lime juice
  • Ready made tomato salsa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Wahaca Chile de Arbol sauce

 

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Step 2. Cover the plain tortillas in olive oil both sides and then sprinkle with the smoked paprika on both sides also.

Step 3. Cut the tortillas into large triangles.

Step 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the triangles around the tray, making sure they are not on top of each other. Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Step 5. Now for the Guacamole. Chop up the avocados and roughly mash with a fork in a bowl.

Step 6. I am all for making things as quick, easy (and tasty) as possible, so I used store bought salsa and mixed in in with the avocado.

Step 7. Add Wahaca Smoky Chipotle sauce to the mix to taste. I found the avocado was a nice cooling agent, so didn’t mind being a bit more adventurous with quite a few teaspoons of this one! And there we go! Use the freshly cooked nachos to scoop up luscious bites of the guacamole, delish!

Spicing up the guacamole
Spicing up the guacamole

 

Sweetcorn and Chorizo Fritters

Serves 4 (although this mix would easily feed 6 as a starter!)

Ingredients:

  • 60g of butter
  • 150g of chorizo
  • 180g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 450g of tinned sweetcorn
  • 2 egss and 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml milk
  • 3 spring onions
  • Wahaca Chile de Arbol sauce

 

Step 1. Chop up the chorizo into 1cm(ish) pieces

Step 2. Add a third of the butter into a hot frying pan, melt, and add the chorizo. When cooked, set to one side.

Step 3. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

Step 4. Whisk half the sweetcorn with the eggs, half the milk and the Wahaca Chile de Arbol sauce.

Step 5. Make a well in the centre of the flour and whisk in the egg mix, adding the rest of the milk, until the mix drops off the spoon in thick dollops.

 

Crispy Fish Fajitas with Spicy Salsa

Serves 4

This is probably the most adventurous recipe I have ever made, and I was super happy with it, so I hope you enjoy it too!

Ingredients:

  • Zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 500g of fish (for this recipe I used River Cobbler, as it is a tasty white fish, and not as expensive as cod or haddock)
  • 200g polenta
  • 100g plain flour
  • 3  eggs, beaten
  • Oil, for deep-frying
  • Tub of store bought salsa
  • 8 wholemeal tortillas to serve
  • Large pot of crème fraîche to serve

 

Step 1. Dice the fish into manageable pieces. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over the fish. Put to one side.

Step 2. Beat the eggs into a bowl. To give the fish a little extra kick, measure out some of the Wahaca Fiery Habenero sauce into the egg mix.

Step 4. Set up a little station with the chopped lime fish, the flour. polenta and egg to make it as easy as possible to coat the fish. The dip the fish into the flour, then egg, then polenta to coat each little piece.

Step 5. Heat up some oil in a pan, then fry off the fish. Once brown on each side, place into the oven to keep them warm. I also found this made sure they were fully cooked, as the recipe I was following said to deep fry them. I don’t have a deep fat fryer, and also am massively put off deep frying anything at all!

Step 6. Once all the fish has cooked, squeeze the remaining lime juice over the fish to give it that extra citrusy tang!

Step 7. Take the tub of salsa, and to give it a bit of extra taste, add a few dollops of Wahaca Fiery Habanero Chile sauce to it.

Step 8. Serve your fish on a soft tortilla with a bed of sour cream, lettuce, with a few dollops of guacamole and as much salsa as you can handle. Get stuck in!

Crispy fish tacos
Crispy fish tacos
The finished feast
The finished feast

 

Sweet Potato Bake

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Sweet Potato Bake

Serves 4 – 6 as a side

500g sweet potato
5 tbsp (80g) of Habanero sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pinch of dried thyme
100g feta
2 red onions cut into wedges

1. Peel and chop sweet potato into large chunks and coat with the habanero, thyme, olive oil and S& P and add the red onion.
2. Put on a baking tray into an oven at 200°C for 40 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through until golden brown.
3. Five minutes before the potatoes are cooked, crumble the feta cheese on top of the potatoes and pop back into the oven until the feta is golden and bubbling.

Why not add some fresh tomato salsa and use as a veggie friendly taco filling?

Sweetcorn & Chorizo Fritters

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Sweetcorn & Chorizo Fritters

Serves 4

60g butter
150g chorizo, diced into 1cm cubes
180g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of sugar
450g fresh or frozen sweetcorn kernels (4 corn on the cobs)
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
100ml full-fat milk
3 spring onions, finely sliced
a small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1–2 tsp Wahaca Chile de Arbol sauce

1. Heat a third of the butter in a hot frying pan and add the chorizo until cooked. Set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl. In another bowl whisk half the corn with the eggs, half the milk and the chile de arbol sauce. Make a well in the centre of the flour, whisk in the egg mix then gradually add the rest of the milk, so that it drops off the spoon in thickish dollops.
3. Melt the rest of the butter and add half of it to the batter before folding in the rest of the corn, the spring onions, chorizo and chopped coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. To fry the pancakes, heat a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan until it is hot and then brush with a little of the remaining melted butter. Dollop out a couple of large dessert spoons of the mixture, spaced well apart so that the fritters don’t run into each other. Fry over a medium heat for about 2 minutes a side until golden brown.

Tip: These are also great with a fried egg and some fresh salsa or with avocado cream. Whizz a few avocados in a food blender with the juice of 1lime, some fresh basil, 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche and a touch of olive oil.

 

Mexican Summer Slaw

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Mexican Summer Slaw

1tbsp pumpkin seeds
¼ firm white cabbage, finely sliced
Small head of baby gem lettuce, finely sliced
6 large radishes, finely sliced
1 small red onion finely sliced
1 large carrot, cut into match sticks
½ red chilli finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped coriander

For the dressing:
1 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1 small clove of garlic, grated
Juice of ½ lime
1tbsp sour cream
2 tsp Wahaca chipotle sauce
Salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured.
3. In a large bowl, mix all the slaw ingredients together, but save some of the pumpkin seeds for garnish. About 10 minutes before you sit down to eat, toss the slaw with the dressing and sprinkle with reserved pumpkin seeds.

Tip: Try serving on top of a tostada for a summery starter.

Black Bean & Cheese Empanadas

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Black Bean & Cheese Empanadas

Serves 4

400g cooked black beans
100g mature cheddar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Small handful of thyme, chopped
2 tbsp Wahaca Chile de Arbol sauce
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with a splash of milk)
500g block of puff pastry

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
2. In a frying pan, sweat the onions until soft and translucent, set aside and leave to cool.
3. In a bowl, mix the grated cheese, black beans, cooled onions, chile de arbol sauce and thyme and mash so that the black beans roughly bind everything together
4. Roll the pastry until about five mm thick. Cut into 8 equal squares.
5. In each square put one to two generous tbs of the black bean mixture in the middle of each square.
6. Brush some egg wash around the filling, then fold a corner of the pastry over to the opposite corner to make a triangle. Press the edges together with a fork.
7. Brush the parcels with the remaining egg wash and prick with the fork once or twice to create air holes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Tip: Empanadas are a great snack for a picnic and are just as tasty cold as they straight out of the oven.

Chipotle Meatballs & Guacamole

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Chipotle Meatballs & Guacamole

Serves 4

450g beef mince
30g breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp oregano
Thyme
Fresh coriander
Salt & pepper

For the smoky tomato sauce:
400g of tinned tomatoes
4 tbsp Wahaca chipotle sauce
2 tsp oregano
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
Chopped coriander
Lime juice
Salt & pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and roll into walnut sized balls.
2. Fry in a pan until brown on all sides and put aside until required.
3. For the smoky tomato sauce:
4. Heat up some olive oil in the frying pan and gently sweat the onion until translucent (around five minutes).
5. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, oregano and chilli flakes (if using) and continue to gently fry for a further two minutes.
6. Add the chipotle chilli sauce, chopped tomatoes, salt & pepper and meatballs to the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced by 1/3 and the meatballs are cooked through. Finish off with a squeeze of lime juice and some freshly chopped coriander.

Tip: Mash these ingredients together in a pestle and mortar for a quick and easy guacamole:
1 Avocado
A handful of chopped coriander
½ a red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Fiery Chicken Wings

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Fiery Chicken Wings

Serves 4-6

1kg chicken wings
100g Wahaca Arbol chilli sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp runny honey
A pinch of salt and pepper

1.Whisk marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Add chicken wings to marinade and pop in the fridge for at least an hour (for the best result, overnight).
3. Bake in an oven at 200 degrees for 40-45 minutes until fully cooked or grill on the BBQ until fully cooked and the juices run clear.
4. Serve with a dollop of cooling sour cream and a wedge of lime.

Tip: Replace the arbol sauce with chipotle for milder tastebuds.